Assume best intentions.
This week I posted an article by ADDitude magazine 'Bad behaviour? No. Your child's Adhd
symptoms are to blame. I titled it 'Assume best intentions...'.
Adhd behaviour is not bad behavior. These children are not defiant, wilful, lazy or unmotivated. It may look like this to people around them but Adhd is a neurological condition, a different 'wiring' of the brain. The struggles these children have manifest in challenging behaviour, which can look very much like what society has termed bad!
These children may struggle to follow a sequence of instructions - this is their poor working
memory. They may appear to not be listening and can't sit still at the dinner table - this is because they need to move in order to listen and regulate their emotions. They may not want to complete homework - this is not laziness but their poor executive functions that make it extremely difficult to make a start on a task, especially a non-preferred one, one that is of little interest to them.
These children are told off by adults for not listening, not following the instructions and not
completing required tasks. They are reprimanded for not doing what adults believe they should be able to do based on their age, but these children have a brain that develops more slowly than that of their neurotypical peers and is so is two to three years less mature.
Does this reprimand and correction teach them how to focus and concentrate, how to sit still and complete their work? Definitely not! Their brains can not be reprimanded into doing what society expects of them. The negative comments break their confidence and crush their self-esteem so that the strengths they do have become buried under stigma and shame.
What these children desperately need is someone to listen to them, to understand their
challenges, love them for who they are and work tirelessly to let them show their strengths. You have to work hard - they find praise difficult to hear and it may take time for them to trust you enough to show you their true passions and creativity - but they will be there. Their compassion will shine through and bit by bit, as they begin to believe in themselves, they will develop strategies to overcome their difficulties. Although their Add traits will be with them for life, they will come to know that their strengths outweigh their struggles.
This is the difference that an understanding and proactive parent or teacher can make in the life of a child with Adhd. Get curious about them, build a strong relationship, alter your own
expectations and see their strengths. Always assume best intentions and you won't be